Skip to main content

Not by cattle class! Why should an MP suffer for demanding to fly Business Class on an All-Economy flight?

By Anand Mazgaokar*
The biggest crisis of the year 2017 -- something that caused turmoil in Parliament, Government, ruling alliance -- has been "resolved". The astuteness, accommodativeness, ability to find ‘middle ground’, of our politicians has "saved" the day.
The question is did a Member of Parliament really thrash an airline employee? Did he only brag about it? Did he both, thrash & brag? A Commission of Inquiry should be set up. Of course, when an elected ‘People’s Representative’ thrashes a commoner 25 times with his slippers, it should not be automatically assumed that the violent MP is the offending party!
May be, after 2014 a 56 inch chest is no single individual’s monopoly. Others have also started going around with inflated chests. The only people who don’t have 56 inch chests are hapless party spokespersons who, on TV, have to both, condemn goon-like behaviour and at the same time not disturb the ruling alliance applecart.
The cardinal rule to be safe while committing crime in India is to do it as part of a mob, or be assured of political patronage. Ideally both. Ask all rioters. Ask Gau rakshaks. His crime was doing it all alone and while someone’s camera was on. Therefore, the most important question here is why did the MP land in this soup? Was it inexperience? Was it overconfidence? Or, was it knowledge that he and his party would be able to bargain their way out of this?
The MP must have had a very stressful time. His party dithered. It was in two minds. They almost pulled him up for his behaviour. But that would have been so out of character. They soon realised that and found their feet and voice in Parliament and came out with all guns blazing. Everyone who knows them and their track record must have heaved sigh of relief.
The poor MP has already undergone untold hardship and punishment without trial. He was barred from flying by all airlines, he’s had to make train journeys multiple times, cartoonists are having a field day, some even showed him flying on slippers. He’s even had to charter a plane to go to Delhi.
There doesn’t seem to be a Patanjali Airline which would have been a law unto itself and given the MP his due. Unfortunately, the Patanjali folks only manufacture toothpaste, biscuits, shampoo, soaps etc., thus far. 
As far as one can tell they haven’t diversified into aircraft manufacture, airline running or managing airports. In the absence of competition from Patanjali the other airlines have all ganged up against a People’s representative licenced by elections to wanton behaviour.
MPs having to fly cattle class is such a travesty. And, by the way, it wasn’t the offending MP who invented the cattle class, it was actually established by a certain Shashi Tharoor. No other human being on earth should suffer such ignominy for just demanding his right to fly Business Class on an all Economy flight!
MPs truly have, and must have special privileges. There’s no way they can be treated as common citizens. If rioters are not acted against, if mob-violence is legit, if ‘gau rakshaks’ go scot free in spite of what they do, if Dalit-atrocities are okay how on earth can an MP be targeted ?
The poor MP and his party’s plight didn’t end there. They had to drag Mr Mohan Bhagwat in and float the balloon of supporting him as President. Mr. Bhagwat, as the President of India because an Air India employee was beaten with slippers! That one would be for the annals of politics! In any case sensible, rational people do not make sense in this day and age.
But, the MP and his party need not have stressed themselves so much. A deal with the senior partner was inevitable. They’re so intertwined. They need each other in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation. They cannot do without each other in Maharashtra Assembly. Not in Delhi either. The senior partner needs them for Presidential elections. Sharing a genetic code and long marriage does bestow advantages.
If they were still not assured of a deal Mr Donald Trump was at hand. He offered his good offices to mediate between India & Pakistan. The Govt could have struck a package deal with Mr Trump and got him to mediate between the alliance partners too.
Anyone who fears that change will come about, that there is danger of Indian polity being civilised and rule of law being applied at all times and in all cases must rest assured that the Government and if need be, the Speaker will intervene and restore status quo. Amen.

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Australia least prepared to fight Hindu 'extremism', admits diaspora NGO group

Tiranga rally in Sydney: Cause of stir among diaspora By Our Representative  The Australian Alliance Against Hate and Violence (AAAHAV) has said that Australia is “least prepared” to counter the allegedly “rising threat of Hindu far right extremism”. Calling upon politicians, federal and state governments to “urgently recognise the threat far-right Hindu extremism”, it asks “to take concrete steps to address this threat.”

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.